Trojans overcome determined Batley Boys in Jim Brown final

Thornhill Trojans go up to lift the Jim Brown Cup at Batley Bulldogs after beating Batley Boys.
Thornhill Trojans go up to lift the Jim Brown Cup at Batley Bulldogs after beating Batley Boys.

Thornhill Trojans won the Heavy Woollen ARL Jim Brown Cup for a fifth consecutive season last Thursday as they overcame Batley Boys at Mount Pleasant.

Thornhill’s amazing run in the competition began when they lifted the trophy for the first time in 2015 and the Trojans remain unbeaten since they made the switch to summer rugby.

Batley Boys deserve huge credit for their performance and were very much in the game going into the final 10 minutes as the National Conference Division Three outfit gave their all against their Premier Division opponents.

The opening stages were cagey as both sides battled for supremacy.

Batley Boys almost made the perfect start when half-back Adam Bingham broke down the slope in the opening minute to take them close.

Centre Josh Whitehead forced his way over the try line but the excellent Trojans defence prevented him from grounding the ball.

Danny Ratcliffe created Thornhill’s best chance in the opening quarter when he chipped over the Boys defence but the ball rolled agonisingly dead before he could get a hand on it.

Trojans substitute Joe Buggle was tackled in front of the posts and when they moved play quickly left, it created space for Jack Gledhill but he knocked on.

Batley launched a 40-20 kick downfield and Gav Davis spun in a tackle but was eventually held in front of the posts as he attempted to stretch over.

The deadlock was finally broken after 27 minutes as Thornhill attacked up the slope and Will Gledhill collected a pass to force his way over wide on the right.

Casey Johnson was unable to land the conversion from wide out, but he would go on to lead Thornhill to victory in the second half with a man-of-the-match performance.

Batley had chance to reply before the break when they created space on the left but Whitehead’s pass to Bob Bingham was deemed forward.

Thornhill’s hopes were dealt a blow early in the second half when Danny Ratcliffe — man-of-the-match in last year’s final win over Dewsbury Moor — was helped from the field with a shoulder injury.

Luke Haigh began to take Thornhill forward, while organising the defence from his position at hooker.

The Trojans struck twice in the space of six minutes to take a hold on the game as George Woodcock slipped a pass out to send Will Gledhill over for his second try, with Johnson adding a terrific touchline conversion.

A lovely jinking run by substitute Jamie Searby took the Trojans close and Buggle met the ball at pace to crash over for a try which Johnson improved.

Batley responded as Matt Sheridan stepped through and charged over to score at the side of the posts and Adam Bingham converted which reduced the arrears to 16-6.

Johnson eased Thornhill’s nerves when he slotted over a 74th minute drop goal

Thornhill completed victory in injury time when Haigh made a lovely break before offloading to Jake Wilson and he was on hand to take the return pass before racing between the posts. Johnson converted with the last kick of the game to seal another cup win.

Batley Boys: Scutton; B Bingham, Whitehead, West, Richter; A Bingham, L Sheridan; M Sheridan, Crawley, Davis, Mould, Brooke, James. Subs: Tomlinson, Brown, Spaven, Clarke.

Thornhill Trojans: Woodcock; J Gledhill, W Gledhill, Mitchell, Roebuck; Morley, D Ratcliffe; T Gledhill, Haigh, Harris, J Ratcliffe, Wilson, C Johnson. Subs: Searby, S Ratcliffe, Riley, Buggle.

Referee: Liam Rush.